WASHINGTON — Tim Pawlenty ended his campaign for president Sunday morning, telling ABC’s “This Week” that his third place finish in Saturday’s Iowa Straw Poll indicated he didn’t have enough support to continue the race.
Pawlenty spent much of the last month in Iowa ahead of the straw poll, one of the most important early indicators of support in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Pawlenty took third place with 16.5 percent of the vote, well behind the winner, Minnesotan Michele Bachmann (28.5 percent), and finished closer to fourth place than to second.
“Obviously [my] message didn’t get the kind of traction or lift that we needed and hoped for … we needed to see some lift to have a pathway forward. That didn’t happen,” he said.
Pawlenty strugged to gain support during his campaign, which he formally launched in May but had been a flirtation of his for much longer. National and statewide polls in Iowa and New Hampshire put his support in the single digits.
Pawlenty raised $4.2 million during the second fundraising quarter, well behind Mitt Romney’s $18.3 million. Given his long-running interest in a run and the early attention he’d received as a potential alternative to Romney, the total was viewed as a disappointment. He acknowledged Sunday that the poor Ames showing would only hurt his fundraising ability going forward.
Pawlenty didn’t hint at his future political plans on Sunday, and he didn’t offer an endorsement in the race. He was asked his thoughts on the field, specifically Bachmann, with whom he had clashed since her campaign began in June, but he offered diplomatic responses.
“I think she’s going to have to make her case before the American people about whether she’s the best candidate and why she should be the Republican nominee and [run against] against Barack Obama,” he said. “Time will tell if she’ll be able to do that.”
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com.